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May 8, 2017

To Live and Die in LA

To Live and Die in L.A.

In the morning, I set the alarm clock for 5:00 a.m. My flight's at 8:30 a.m. I missed it last week. This week, I want to get on the plane, so I get up earlier. It's sort of hard when you're flying to different cities all the time. It's easy to make a mistake when your plane leaves at a different time every week.

So I'm driving out to the airport and some royal jackass gets on my ass. And he won't back off. He's right on my ass. So I brake check him and he hits me. This is why I don't have a gun in the car. Because I would have literally murdered that motherfucker this morning. I start recording him with my phone and he exits, realizing how close he came to dying or going to jail.

Like I need this shit.

So, I get to Canopy parking and park my car, get on the shuttle, and head to the airport. In the shuttle, the jackass beside me leans on me like we're engaged, I have no idea why.

I get to the gate with plenty of time, but there's no gate agent to hand me my Preboard pass. At 7:30, I mention to a SW employee that we don't have a gate agent. Apparently, they're supposed to appear miraculously at 1 hour before the flight departs. And sure enough, I turn around, and he's appeared somehow. Dreadlocks. Stoned. High as a kite. But he's there.

I get my preboard pass and board the plane. Some retarded flight attendant is blocking my path onto the plane. She's asking me if I'm preboarding and I'm like..."No, because your fat ass is in my way." Only I didn't say that of course.

For a brief second, I think about sitting on the other side of the plane. In 2F instead of 2A. Crazy, I know. I sit in 2A and as I put my gear in 2B, the guy beside me says "Is anyone sitting there?"

I look at him. I feel like it's groundhog day. I'm thinking....I sat next to this same motherfucker last week, and now he's onto my scam. He's figured me out.

Slowly, I realize that I forgot to ask the stoned gate agent how full the flight was.

"No.....no one's sitting here..." I offer.

Presently, word comes that the flight is completely full.

Eventually, a massive killer whale in the shape of a fading housewife takes the seat beside me. Her fat rolls across the arm rest in waves, touching me in a way that makes me want to vomit.

I fall asleep as soon as we leave the ground and I wake up over the grand canyon. Like....I can glance out the window, and I know every hill and crevice on the way to Ontario. There's a flight tracker than I can use with my laptop for free, but I recognize where we are at a glance out the window. This is nothing to be proud of. I'm just stuck in this rut and I don't know how to get out.

An infant in row 1 starts screaming at the top of his lungs and I wonder why I do this to myself. Why am I here? Like....I'd pay good money for a Colt .45 and a blindfold right about now.

As soon as the kid stops squealing, some jackass starts playing his radio really loud on the plane...so loud that I can't even hear myself think. I ring the flight attendant call button. A flying housewife comes back.

"What am I listening to?" I ask her. Uncertain if it's the person beside me, or someone 10 rows back.

She immediately senses the problem, and homes in on the offending jackass. He's across the plane and 2 rows back. Like...dude....how fucking loud do you need your radio to be?

She tells him to turn it down I'd have paid good money to see her toss him out the emergency exit door like D.B. Cooper.

We come in over the San Bernardino mountains, capped in a fresh layer of snow in May, no less.

We touch down in Ontario, 2 hours after we were wheels up in Denver.

Walk outside the Terminal, and this is the hardest part of every trip. 1) Is my bike there (where I think I left it) and 2) Do I have my motorcycle keys.

Like, make no mistake, this is a tight-wire act. There are so many ways to fail there aren't words.

I put on all my gear, and hop onto the bike. I keep it in Short-Term parking now. I pull on all my gear, set up my GPS and my helmet cam (all charged last night), and as I pull out across the sidewalk and nearly get T-boned by a jackass in a black truck going about 9 times the speed limit. I open the throttle and get in front of him and cut him off. Now, he's upset enough that he's chasing me down the highway. I do a U-turn at a redlight and lose him. Now, I'm west bound on I-10.

Like....this has not been a good day. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm west bound on I-10, but there's no traffic ot speak of. It's 9:30 a.m., and the traffic has died down.

30 minutes later, I'm rolling onto the Cal Poly University campus at Pamona.

Such a beautiful, luscious campus. You could almost forget you were in the Los Angeles basis. Stunning, green, with birds and flowers and purple Jacaranda trees.

I have a presentation, so I sit down and work on it all day, pretty much non-stop from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Like, it's hard for me to grasp anything. I'm like a retarded kid, basically, at this point.

I make a powerpoint and send it to my bosses and say, "This is what I'm going over tomorrow morning."

I go to the bar near my place in Riverside, it's called Cactus Cantina. I order some food and a beer, but I'm too tired or full to eat more than a few bites. I'm so tired. MOnday nights are the hardest. Feel like I've been run over by a train. I'm just lookin gat my beer and my dinner. Lord God I feel like I could fall asleep at the bar.

I don't think anyone really cares. Maybe they do. Maybe they don't. I dunno. My contract is up at the end of next month. So, maybe they'll extend me. Maybe they won't. I dunno. I don't really care. I've done the best I can. I'm very tired. I wouldn't mind if they cut me loose. I would get on my new Africa Twin (very new - not purchased eve), and ride off into the wild blue yonder. I only wish it was winter, so I could head to Tierra Del Fuego. It's the wrong time of year to do Tierra Del Fuego. Ugh.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 8, 2017 at 10:22 PM


I am loving your articles. Reminds me of how my life is sometimes, but you sum it up in a rad way. The joys of motorcycles, the challenges of that (having all the right gear at all times). The 'fun' of commuting by plane. Enjoying the simple things, living in the moment. Its been emotional....

Posted by: Joe on May 9, 2017 at 4:30 AM

We all love Rob's story telling. It is particularly enthralling when he writes a daily account of his travels through undiscovered terrains. He has written a book, Killing Strangers, recounting his travels in SA and if you didn't know better you would not think he could live to tell about it. He also has a magical eye for capturing pictures along the way.

Posted by: sl on May 13, 2017 at 11:17 AM

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